School-Site Administrators: A California County and Regional Perspective on Labor Market Trends

Primary Researchers: Melissa Eiler White, Anthony Fong, Reino Makkonen

Publication Date: January 2010


This study explored the differences among California's counties and regions in their need for new school-site administrators in the coming decade, as driven by a combination of projected administrator retirements and projected student enrollment changes. The projected need for new principals and vice-principals, based solely on these combined factors, ranges from 9 percent to 71 percent of counties' 2007/08 administrator workforce, with the highest-need counties generally in the Central Valley and Inland Empire regions. As a whole, the counties in these two regions are expected to need to replace 46 percent of their 2007/08 workforce (or more than 2,200 principals and vice-principals) over the following decade — compared with an average of 27 percent across California’s other regions.

Research Questions

Using existing quantitative data, this study investigated three research questions concerning the labor market for California school-site administrators over the next decade:

  • How does projected retirement of school-site administrators vary at the county level?
  • How does projected demand for school-site administrators, based on projected changes in student enrollment, vary at the county level?
  • Assuming that other factors remain unchanged, how will changes in projected retirement rates and student enrollment intersect in particular counties to produce differential needs for school-site administrators?

Methodology

This study uses three primary datasets. One, data on administrator retirements are from the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), which serves most public school administrators in California and maintains data on their retirement patterns. Two, because the CalSTRS data do not distinguish among school-site administrators, teachers, student-services staff, and other certificated employees, the California Department of Education Professional Assignment Information Form dataset was used to adjust the CalSTRS data to reflect only school-site administrators. Three, historical and projected data on student enrollment are from the California Department of Finance 2008 Enrollment Series dataset.

Administrator retirements were projected using five-year historical retirement rates specific to each county and each age within each county. To calculate projected administrator demand due to changes in student enrollment, five-year historical student–administrator ratios for each county were used. These two demographic trends — retirements and enrollment changes — were then merged to calculate projected need for new administrators in each of California's 58 counties.

Key Findings

The need for new school-site administrators based on projected retirements and changes in school enrollment ranges between 9 percent and 71 percent of counties' 2007/08 administrator workforce, with the highest need counties generally in the Central Valley and Inland Empire regions.

As a whole, the counties in these two regions are expected to need to hire 46 percent of their 2007/08 workforce (or more than 2,200 principals and vice-principals) over the next decade — compared with an average of 27 percent across California's other regions. Many counties in these two regions face other challenges as well as a high projected need for school-site administrators, including high poverty rates, low educational attainment, and diverse student populations.

  • Published: January 2010
  • Research Type: Issues & Answers
  • Methodologies: Descriptive
  • Contact info:
    Melissa Eiler White 916.492.4057


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